The Sunshine Lady


In her younger days, Stella was a serious polka dancer. She and her husband – “the best man in the world” – danced in polka competitions around the country. She also was the polka association’s “Sunshine Lady” – the one who sent a card when someone was ill, flowers if someone died, letters after someone moved away.

Stella’s Memory Bridge buddy, Diana, is a bubbly, lively girl in whom Stella seems to recognize a polka dancer’s spirit. At their first visit, Stella started giving Diana polka lessons, and the instruction has continued ever since. “Every time I come to visit, she’s waiting at the door. She grabs me, hugs me, and we start dancing!” says Diana.

Much to her regret, Stella never had children. But she now has a baby, a doll named Leon, whom she cares for and loves tenderly. When she and her fellow residents go on outings, she makes sure there is someone assigned to watch Leon while she’s gone. During their visits, Diana gives Stella a break by holding Leon and taking him for a walk in his stroller. “Sometimes he is a doll and sometimes he is baby,” Diana explains.

Stella still enjoys her Sunshine Lady activities and writing Diana letters, and poems, like this:

My dear Diana:
It was a quiet day for me, kind of blue, a kind of lonesome day as you know. There are many days that are blue for me. On those days is when the tears fall on my cheeks, thinking of family (my loved ones), especially my loving husband (who is gone). It is a big ache and I do not look forward to wet cheeks but instead bring memories of wonderful happiness.

Well, honey, I enjoyed your company even if it was a short time. Keep up your spirit and enjoying it all. You will have much happiness knowing that tears help and and then the beautiful smile. The happiness I’m writing you will find happiness. It makes the wrinkles disappear. Just stay beautiful, my dear, as beautiful as you are.

Here is a little poem I wrote for you:

THINKING OF YOU WHEREVER YOU GO AND INCLUDES WHOMEVER YOU KNOW THAT ARE IN YOUR THOUGHTS AND IN PRAYERS WHENEVER YOU GO AND IN THOUGHTS, YES, THE TEARS OF RHYME HOPPING NOT SO GOOD AS I USED TO BE BUT I GUESS I WAS SO VIBRANT TO MUCH AND MELODIES YES THAT KEPT ME HOPPING NOT SO GOOD AS I USED TO BE BUT I GUESS THE MELODIES KEPT ME ACTIVE AND I WAS SO VIBRANT MADE ME THINK WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE AND I WAS A GO-GO-GO GO-GO-GO A HOP-HOP-HOP THAT MADE MY TEARS DISAPPEAR.

Love, Stella


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